Ben's Babbles: Some people have all the luck

July 16, 2011

Three days this summer Ron Yamashita has gone out and bought lottery tickets.

He was feeling particularly lucky.

The 60-year-old retired teacher and dedicated golfer had never managed a hole-in-one in his entire life.

This summer he has managed one every month.

On May 19 he was playing a foursome with Gene Aslin, John Lozowski and Guy Wallace when Yamashita teed off on the par 3 eighth hole at Indian Creek.

His tee shot disappeared into the sun in front of the hole and he had no idea where it went.

After everyone searched around the green, they looked in the hole and, sure enough, there the ball was.

"We all celebrated and had a good time," Yamashita said.

He almost didn't even remember to save the ball.

On the next hole, Aslin asked him if he had kept the ball. Yamashita had - sort of. It was the one he had just hit off his next tee shot. Thankfully he didn't manage to lose it.

On June 16 Yamashita was on the course again. He told his fellow golfers not to worry this time; he already had his ace for the year. He would soon have two. On the 10th hole his tee shot rolled up the green and into the hole.

Yamashita did snag that ball, and it joined the first hole-in-one ball on his piano.

As the old saying goes, and Yamashita says he knows it well, "Things happen in threes." This story is no exception.

Last Sunday Yamashita again stepped up to the 10th hole.

"I told everyone I should go first on the hole because I don't have anything left to prove," he said.

He hit his tee shot, which glanced off a KP sign from a tournament and rolled into the hole.

The group looked around in disbelief.

"The next day all the guys at the course were giving me their bags to touch their clubs," he said.

Now when she comes to visit, his daughter is going to wonder why on earth her dad has three golf balls sitting on the piano.

Titleist must wonder if Yamashita is trying to scam them by this point.

After every hole-in-one the company gives a medallion to anyone who uses their ball if it is certified by the course.

Yamashita has sent in three medallion certificates in three months.

His hole-in-ones have come with a price though. Yamashita typically shoots in the 80s. However in the three months he has his aces, his scores have risen into the 90s.

"I guess its better to be lucky than good," he said with a laugh.

Golfers who have been on the links longer -- Yamashita has been seriously golfing for only six years -- or who have lower scores can only wonder when it will be there turn.

"I've just been getting ribbed constantly," he said.

While he has enjoyed his celebrity at the club, Yamashita would actually prefer someone else starting getting holes in one next month - they start to get pricey.

"It gets expensive hitting all these holes in one, he said. "You have to buy drinks."

He was hoping his luck might rub off and he would have some lottery money to pay for all those drinks.

How about those lucky tickets?

"They haven't worked once!" he said.

Apparently good luck only gets you so far.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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